Children, old people and lessons in simply being kind
Many of us have been struck this week with the wonderful documentary on Channel Four in which a group of little children – just four years old – transformed the lives of a group of elderly men and women in a Bristol Retirement Complex.
It would take a heart of steel not to melt as curmudgeonly Hamish moved from cynical refusal to playing sleeping lions to the squealing delight of his young playmates; to see a woman severely depressed by her husband’s dementia start to smile again; a woman convinced she is near to death find she was useful; a reserved woman’s joy as a little boy just ran to her for a cuddle and the happiness of a woman not able to keep up with the group when a little girl called Dot ran back to fetch her.
To me the programme had two lessons. The first was that we need to fight against loneliness which is a crippling issue and affects us more and more as we age. There is evidence that it increases heart disease – it literally breaks your heart and has been associated with increased propensity to dementia. So if you are feeling detached - do something now. Take a look at the article ‘Loneliness – is it breaking your heart?’ and act on it.
The second lesson has to be from the children. They were simply kind. They did not care that someone was old, or deaf, or slow, or less than beautiful. They saw the soul inside and held out little hands. Smiles lit up old faces, just a little hug gave a heart a boost and sitting on a lap for a story gave meaning to life. So when and why did we all forget little acts of kindness? When did you last smile at a stranger, help someone who was in difficulty, or just say a gentle word of encouragement to boost another’s confidence? It is too easy to get pulled into the weeds of life and only see your own issues. I do it every day and those little people made me think that I can look around and do much better in the realm of just being nice.
Until next time.....Stay Sassy